5 Tips for Handling Painful Memories (with video)

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Do you struggle with painful memories that seem to surface at the worst times? Do you have emotional triggers that trip you up? Do you fight feelings of discouragement or fear because of past hurts?
If so, you're not alone. 
Many of us don't know what to do with the pains of the past, and a lot of us are allowing those memories to create pains in the present!
If you feel the pains of the past are following you around like a stray dog, or if there's something you can't seem to forgive yourself for, then these tips are for you!
Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Here is what we need to remember...
1) GOD CARES ABOUT HOW WE FEEL. He invites us to pour our hearts out to Him through tears, words, prayers, etc.
1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your cares on God for He cares for you."
2) EMOTIONS ARE DESIGNED TO BE IN MOTION. He created us to feel, but not to "stay" in any one emotion. E-motion tells us that our feelings are designed to be in motion.
Psalm 51 and 69 are just 2 examples of what we can do to express our emotions to God.
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry." - Ephesians 4:26
3) INNER PAIN NOT EXPRESSED DIVIDES YOU FROM GOD. Any inner pain you are carrying can divide you away from others in life, but it also brings division in your relationship with God. Decide to share your heart with God about any memories that keep rising to the surface.
"Pour out your heart to Him for God is our refuge and place of safety." - Psalm 62:8
You're created to feel and express, but it's imperative that you return your focus to God. If you remain focused on your pain, it will only grow larger to you. Returning your focus to God allows His peace to come in exchange for the pain of the memories you carry. Practice choosing healthy thoughts focused on good things to gain more peace of mind.
Philippians 4:4-8 is like a formula for peace!
5) FEEL - FORGIVE - RELEASE: Then refuse to pick it up again! When you hold onto and ruminate about a feeling, an event, or a painful memory - your brain responds to this "rehearsal" as if it's actually happening again, and the result is increased self-wounding!
We must establish the habit of feeling our pain, forgiving others or ourselves, and releasing it to God.
DECLARATIONS: Read these out loud and let the truth settle into your heart and mind.
  • I am trusting God for the complete healing I need from the past painful events in my life.
  •  I will not be held by the past or by painful memories; instead, I am moving forward into a blessed future.
  •  I am believing what God says about me, that I am precious, loved, and forgiven, and I am establishing my life in who He says I am. I will not be moved off of that truth by memories or by the actions of others.

  • I am being shaped into Christ's likeness mentally and emotionally and I am a healthy, positive, forgiving, and hopeful person.

  • I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.
As you continue to make progress, remember...
  1. To be gentle with yourself about the pain of the past, 
  2. Refuse to give a place for the rehearsal of painful memories.
  3. Forgive yourself wherever there's regret,  
  4. Continue walking into freedom in Christ, and 
  5. Remember you are deeply and eternally loved!

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